FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS — The City Council voted 6-3 Tuesday to have residents decide by binding referendum whether the city should continue to elect a city treasurer.
Ward 3 Alderman Scott Greenwald said the city only needs a full-time finance director, and cutting the part-time city treasurer position would save the city $9,600 per year.
City Treasurer Michele Isaacson said the city treasurer position provides a system of checks and balances within a municipality.
The finance director has a finance background and an understanding of state and municipal law, whereas the city treasurer is elected by residents and represents their interests, Isaacson said.
"In my mind, that's the best mix," Isaacson said.
Isaacson was elected in May 2011. Regardless of voters' decision in the Nov. 6 election, she would serve her full four-year term.
The city hired Finance Director Scott Borror in 2011. His annual salary is $65,000.
Isaacson said that if Greenwald's intent is to save the city money, then the city should just have one alderman represent each ward. This would save $48,000 per year.
Aldermen who voted yes were: Greenwald, Ward 2 Aldermen Speed Allen and Roger Lowry, Ward 3 Alderwoman Pat Baeske, Ward 4 Alderwomen Linda Arnold and Carol Warner.
Aldermen who voted no were: Ward 1 Alderman Josh Frawley and Norm Miller and Ward 5 Alderwoman Bonnie Crossley.
Ward 5 Alderwoman Sandy Baldwin was absent.
Baeske first voted "no," but then changed her vote to a "yes."
Lowry commented that Baeske voted the way she did so she could be in the majority vote and therefore bring the issue up for reconsideration at a later date.
Before the vote, Baeske asked for more discussion on the issue. Aldermen said no.
Baeske said that perhaps the city treasurer is not the only elected position that should be on the referendum. She said she "never realized it was a necessity before" to have both positions for checks and balances.
Warner said it took a long time for her to support the hire of a finance director, but she now sees the benefits of the full-time role and said all along the treasurer would have to go as a result.
Arnold said she didn't support the hire of a finance director and thought the treasurer could handle such duties. Now that both positions are in place, Arnold said residents should decide what the city needs.
Frawley said he is against the elimination because the city treasurer position is essential and the city treasurer has a "personal connection with residents."
Miller said Borror and Isaacson both do an "excellent" job and there is enough work for two people.